Saturday, June 27, 2009

Onto the Trail, Florence Nebraska, 23-26 June 1859

I picked up a booklet "MORMON EMIGRATION 1840-1869" in the LDS Church Museum this week. I have been trying to find information about the loads, the daily mileage, etc. That stuff that I can use at the reunion should there be a lull in the conversation. So now you know I worry.
This booklet had it- or close. Except that it says 'departure Florence Nebraska June 28- Robert F Neslen'.
Had I misunderstood? I went back to what I knew. The Kirkhams arrived in Florence on May 25, 1859. But I was reminded that a 'delay was necessary before they could leave for the west'. It seems that the delay was pretty much one month.
So I came back to the Family History Library to be sure I had other information correct and I was directed to a wonderful site: I have not been to this site before, well, because; but now I will, maybe often. For our purposes here though follow this path:> about the church> (drop down) church history and then at the bottom of the page Mormon Pioneer Overland Travel. Search boxes will give lists, go to Robert F. Neslen Company (1859) and George Kirkham. The new page gives links for a narrative of the company, a list of all the members of the company and of sources.
All this as it is NOW 150 years ago that they were on the plains and our Kirkham family travels toward reunion.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Reunions, Kirkhams and Others

Before I go any further let me open a door to my psyche. Don't worry, I won't won't let it shut behind you! Almost as soon as I told you I figured Lhomond Jones was the first great great- grandchild I had this insistent feeling to verify- and to this end I found verification of my error.
Presently it looks like Gorman Winget was the first to be born in the 5th generation on Jul 29, 1918. Gorman was a son of Dona Alta Crabb, daughter of Eliza Kirkham. Eliza was daughter to George and Mary Russon Kirkham.

I have tried to find a representative household from each fourth generation line to direct information about the reunion. This led me to search Canada for those northern kin. A result of this was coming upon the obituary in the Calgary Herald of Ethel LaRosa Tollestrup Kirkham who passed away May 9, 2009 at the age of 99. She was the widow of Joseph Gray Kirkham, and passed away at the Raymond, Alberta hospital.

I have now several addresses I hope will reach Canadian Kirkhams. There are also more local families I hope I have gotten at least one member the information to, but cannot be sure, really until they respond- or show up. Both will be great!

About my title today. I think reunions have multiple purposes. They reconnect people who may have lost touch or never had been in touch with each other. Do you remember Uncle Alvah Fitzgerald and his real toy car? Or was it a toy real car. We haven't had that broad a reunion since then- have we? There- two purposes: reconnect and fun. Come make fun. How would you do it? Something I wanted to do- and still may is have a display of "Signs of Kirkham Life" where we could show off what we do or have done. Real Estate signs, shop signs, newspaper articles, etc. At one point I thought I would call it "Signs of Intelligent Kirkham Life" but felt that was redundant. Come make fun, bring fun to share. Teach some fun: purpose three. Education should be part of a reunion. The next generation learns their name from the last; can you recite your five generation pedigree? 4 Gen? 6?

I am sure you have your own reasons to attend reunions. Tell us about them. If reunions are important to you I believe you are important to this one. And that you are important to me- kin.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The March of Time

One hundred fifty years ago our pioneer ancestors were upon the plains. I am guessing at the location, though I would enjoy figuring it out- seeing the campsites, gauging the mileage from the last.
I understand that the common immigrant wagon box measured approximately 10.5 feet by 3.5 feet on the floor. I believe each family was allowed only 1,000 pounds weight. My sources on this were a couple of Family History Library missionaries recently. I was glad for their help. Did I mention that there is a wagon replica at the Church Museum? Dare I take a measure tape? 1,000 pounds foodstuff and living needs for three months- and more, as they surely were informed that there were no 'convenience' stores either along the way or in Utah.

Time also marches on in the Kirkham family of 2009. I learned this morning of the passing of Hyrum Lhomond Jones. My figuring is that he was the oldest of generation five- the first of George and Mary Ann's great-great grandchildren.

Time also comes that I need input and help with the reunion! Even as I write this I wonder if I have chased help away. I am inclined to ponder, when it would serve us all for me to say "Yes! Let's do that!" If I give the impression that I want you all to come to Utah just for me- well, that is not the whole story! I hope this idea is one that will reflect the pride I have in the Kirkham name, the Kirkham family - those whom I did not meet, and those I have, and that the reunion will stir such feelings in you.

Friday, June 5, 2009

These Are Our People

I am looking again at E Kay's book; pondering the threads that link me to the Kirkhams of the past. Perhaps you will recognize these kin by the descriptions:
'I remember very well the booming voice of Uncle ***. It resounded like a great bass viol. He was kind and gentle to us kids that visited him as youngsters. '
'The little Kirkham house in lower Lehi was always tidy, with flowers in the summertime'
'*** Kirkham, known and admired by hundreds of young and old in every section of [the]county succumbed in his home... had a varied and active career in church, civic and vocational life... musical talent that enabled him to play the violin as a young man... resulted in his early participation in dance orchestras and community bands... and many young people learned to play instruments under his direction who still play professionally... was an invaluable as well as faithful member of the Lions Club... interested in community beautification he served as president of the Flower Club.'
'Wherever she resided she entered into the life of the community and church... was a member of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers and held various offices. She was a booster of community concerts.'
'He had a great love for people and music, served as announcer for the Days of 47 Committee.'
'Our worthy townsman was laid to rest Sunday. Mr P. reports that he never saw such loyalty, cooperation and tribute paid by a community...***'s sudden and untimely death left his little family with loving memories... and a heritage of which they are justly proud.'

I have borrowed- and probably violated copyright- from several sketches in and out of Kay's book. These reminded me of the uncles and aunts I have known, some still with us. At cousin parties (of my dad's) that I joined after moving to Utah I saw the same qualities. While I did not get the music gene, I can recall to mind the "Twins" harmonizing Springtime in the Rockies at the very same Lehi park where I hope you will join us September 5, 2009.